Tess Elizabeth Wise

Visiting Assistant Professor, Amherst College
Office in Clark 202
twise (at) amherst.edu

free css templates

Researching and teaching American Politics

Economic Inequality
Race and Ethnic Politics
Political Methodology


Household debt, economic insecurity, and race and ethnic politics in the United States

Book Project

Personal Banrkuptcy, Racial Capitalism, and Public-Private Welfare in America takes an ethnographic and critical race theory approach to the institution of personal bankruptcy

Personal Banrktupcy and Race: When the Public-Private Welfare State is Predatory

This paper situates personal bankruptcy with revisionst literature on the American welfare state and applies critical race theory to show that personal bankruptcy provides welfare middle class white homeowners while being part of a predatory state for race-class subjugated Americans

Working Paper -- Draft available on SSRN


Debt, Race, and Voting

Research with undergraduate workers matches bankruptcy files with voters files to create a unique data set to explore how household debt affects political participation and how this varies by race

The Dog-Whistle Politics of Credit, Personal Responsibility, and the American Welfare State

Joint work with Andreas Wiedemann finds that perceptions of access to credit combine with beliefs about personal responsibilty to influence support for public vs. private spending on education and unemployment

Working Paper -- Draft available on SSRN


About me

I am broadly interested in American political economy with an emphasis on race and ethnic politics and the public-private welfare state. I am working on a book, Personal Bankruptcy, Racial Capitalism, and Public-Private Welfare in America. I obtained my Ph.D. in Government from Harvard University in 2019 and a BS from MIT in French and Political Science in 2011. In addition to teaching and research I enjoy hiking, running, yoga, meditation, playing the piano, guitar, and singing.